Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus

The Good Samaritan

by Benedek Rácz

I hastily push the trolley with 100 waterproof sheets (2 packs of 50), 4 pillowcases (yes,
that’s all that arrived this time), a bag of toothpaste tubes and two more cartons of kitchen
supplies. I hurry down the corridor, since here, during the hospital experiment period, I keep
receiving different tasks, which-after the silence of the novitiate house-whisper pleasantly,
“you are useful!”
As I run, suddenly someone calls from one of the rooms:
– Benny!
– But I have important work to do! – I say to myself – I have work to do, I have the 100
waterproof sheets (those packs of 50), 4 pillowcases (the ones that arrived), the bag of
toothpaste tubes, and…
– Benny! – Same voice, concealing a 90-year life story: made of storms and sunshine.
– Benny!
– I don’t have time now! – I always say to myself, but I feel my heart sinking: Because who
has time but me? Me, who left “my home, my country, my brothers, my parents”?
Well, I stop the trolley, with the 100 waterproof sheets and all the other little things I carry
with me. I put on the brakes. I enter the room. I crouch down, start listening to that trembling
voice, which is hard to understand, but encapsulates 90 years of life: parents and village,
shelter and bombs, husband and job, desires and poverty, wounds and failures. Everything.
And the joy of finally having someone who listens.
(cf Lk 10,30-35; Lk 18,29)

Benedek Rácz

Summer SJ

by Giacomo Mottola

Here I am on the other side of the screen six year later. Yes, because I remember well that summer after the first year of seminary when I went through all the pages of the novice website to read about the novices’ experience. As I read about their summer activities I began to feel, ever more clearly, the desire to live this way. Although the accounts of summer experience were so accurate that I felt like I was living them as I read them, at the end of this summer I must admit that doing them is far more challenging that reading them from the comfort of the sofa.

Of course I imagined that I would go from one experience to the next, always ready to commit myself to the end, in a perfect spirit of obedience to my superiors but I discovered that obedience is not only an outward appearance. It is not enough to do what they asked of you and do it to the best of your ability. When I found myself from time to time in new contests where I know no one, or almost no one, I realized that a part of me was starting to play defensively and a whole apparent set of good reasons was ready to argue that it was OK. After all I had obeyed but a part of me was not there missing the opportunity to learn, experiment and get involved.

Thanks to the advice of one Jesuit in charge of one of the activities I took part in, I learned a big lesson this year. Situations are objective but interpretations are relative. There are work situations that may be easier than others but it is up to us to choose whether to see that difficulty as a threat to be defended against or as a challenge to be faced. I have also noticed that I come into daily contact with situations that I may perceive as challenges or threats. By frequently examining my conscience to see where I have acted defensively and where I have put myself on the line, I am discovering new aspects every day to work on in order to learn to trust the good Lord more and more.

Giacomo Mottola

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